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Name: Jaleel Saleem
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When listening to the voice and musical compositions of Abja, the first that comes to mind in how he captures a real blues feeling to his music while keeping the rhythms rootsy all the way through.  Abja is a multi-talented singer, singjay, songwriter, and producer that you can expect lots of good materials from in days yet to come.
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The Music

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Abja was first heard contributing the excellent selection Crucial Confessions on the I Grade compilation Weep Not.  Since then, his debut album Inna Red I Hour was released, and 2006 saw the release of the amazing Mahogany Road album. Abja also sings a combination with Yahadanai on One Atonement. 


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Abja is a multi-talented singer, singjay, songwriter, and producer hailing from St. Croix in the Virgin Islands. While Inna Red I Hour is Abja's first full-length release, he has been polishing his studio skills and sharing his gifts with audiences in NYC for several years, as a former vocalist and producer with the Survival Soundz crew out of Brooklyn. Abja also appeared on I Grade Records, first compilation album, Weep Not, released in November, 2002. His tune , "Crucial Confessions," received widespread acclaim and radio play throughout the US, Caribbean and Europe.

Abja continues to redefine the meaning of Rebel Music and erase the boundaries placed on true reggae. Abja creates music that lifts the spirit and the mind. His voice possesses the qualities necessary to convey emotions ranging from love to revolution. Rebel Music is the focus, and freedom and upliftment of African people is the mission.

"I sing songs of rebel harmony to balance me and help me break these mental and societal chains. With love everything is possible. With love, life isn't an obstacle. The art form of music is a communication device, which can send good, or bad, frequencies through the air waves. Therefore, it is important for us to create original, positive music to shine or reflect onto a suffering nation. Rhythm: balance in life, natural progression that correlates with equality. Through the guidance of the Most High, Jah Rastafari, my spirit is as free as a song roaming around as echoes in your head, an ever rising crescent."
- Abja

Abja is a powerful performer whose spirit and energy transmits to everyone around him. He sings with a strength of purpose, with a dynamic and confident, yet humble, stage presence. Performing with his backing band, Blackfoot, Abja has graced the stage at numerous venues around NYC, including the world famous SOB's in Manhattan. Upcoming tours are in the works to bring Abja's messages to audiences across the country and around the world.

Album Reviews
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Mahogany Road Reviews

Reggae Reviews:
A sophomore album is always a tricky proposition, since its nature is such that it will invariably be compared to the album before it, and the sound will invariably not be quite as fresh the second time around. And while Abja's second album, Mahogany Road, may not be quite as fresh for this reason, it manages to avoid the sophomore slump. In fact, it runs all over the sophomore slump with boundless energy, pointed lyrics, and the type of rich roots music we've come to expect from Laurent "Tippy" Alfred, Tuff Lion, and the rest of the gang at I Grade Records. - More
I sThe I Grade crew continues its trod forward with its summer releases. Producer, singjay, and I Grade staple Abja is certainly in lock step with this crew’s cadence. Mahogany Road is his follow up to Inna Red I Hour in 2003. The key I Grade musicians perform on this sophomore effort: Laurent “Tippy I” Alfred; his brother and bassie Kenyatta Itola; drummers Astor Campbell and T Rock Davis, who toured with the Red I Band this past spring; and guitsie/multi-instrumentalist Tuff Lion. The Million7 Horns composed of Balboa Becker, Joel Berhman, and Barret Cobses add another aural layer to several tracks. If you made it to one of the I Grade Trilogy shows in Northern California this past spring, you’ll recognize the vibe.  - More

Reggae Vibes:
Abja's tune "Crucial Confessions" (included on I Grade Records' first compilation album, "Weep Not", released in 2002) provided a glimpse of the unique talent of this artist hailing from St. Croix in the Virgin Islands. With "Inna Red I Hour" -- his first full-length release -- he delivered a much promising and powerful collection of tunes, which brought him to the attention of (V.I.) roots followers around the world. Now here's Abja's long-awaited sophomore CD "Mahogany Road", which not only reaffirms that he's one of the most promising new conscious artists, but this set also fully lives up to expectations raised by Abja's debut album. While listening to Abja's new album it's obvious that he has made a natural progression and thus has taken his musical efforts to the next (higher) level. - More

Reggae Connection: (french)
Amis du ‘New Roots’ réjouissez-vous car cette petite plaque va vous plonger dans un état de confiance absolu. Confiance en l’avenir du reggae authentique mais qui n’hésite pas à s’ouvrir aux ambiances jadis révélées par des artistes tels que Steel Pulse ou I Jah Man …Définitivement inspiré de ses aînés, Abja réussit à introduire dans ce reggae là des éléments de blues, jazz et hip hop. - Encore

VI Roots:
Take a ride down Mahogany Road with one of the VI's most unique and talented artists. On this - his second full length album - Abja takes his rootical singing and chanting to a new level of intensity and originality with soon-to-be classic tunes like "One Shot", "Dangerzone" and the massive title track, "Mahogany Road." Also featured are two big combination tunes, one with label-mate NiyoRah and another with Sound VIzion's Ras Attitude. - More

BigUp Radio:
Abja’s Mahogany Road is another I-Grade production outta Christiansted, St. Croix, USVI. Released in 2006 the album showcases another great roots reggae talent from the island that continues to blaze a new fya of consciousness. Mahogany road pays tribute to the largest island in the Virgin islands. On the western end of St. Croix rising 1096' above sea level is Blue mountain where a lush rain forest of saman, tibet and mahogany trees grow. - More

Inna Red I Hour Reviews

Creation Steppin':
OK, I'm moving to St. Croix, obviously THE hotbed of modern roots music, and I-Grade Records is at the forefront. They strike gold again with Abja's debut release, "Inna Red I Hour." Abja is a multi-talented songwriter/singer/singjay that we got a taste of with his song "Crucial Confessions" on the "Weep Not" compilation CD, and the talents that we got a hint of then are in full force here. Every single song features heartical lyrics and tight riddims using mostly live instruments, including the talents of some of the island's finest such as guitarist Tuff Lion.  - More

Reggae Reviews:
I Grade Records is steadily becoming the modern, scaled-down version of Studio One in the ‘60s/‘70s or Island Records in the ‘70s and early ‘80s. That is, it’s establishing itself as a stamp of quality, as a dependable source for quality reggae in a market increasingly flooded by half-hearted fly-by-night labels and mega-labels whose next by-the-numbers release sounds just like their last. You hardly even have to listen to an I Grade production to know that you’re in good hands. - More
I see the return address on the package from I Grade Records, I think as I open it, "What a perfect birthday present to myself- a new Midnite CD to listen to!" And what a cool title, "Inna Red I Hour." I was already excited as I cued it up. Oh but wait, that's not Midnite's Vaughn Benjamin that I hear. I look at the CD again and there in dark red letters blending in is the artist's name: Abja ... mmm, nice voice. Sounds like old roots reggae, but not. - More

Reggae Vibes:
The cd "Inna Red I Hour" is the promising and powerful debut album by Abja. He's a a multi-talented singer, singjay, songwriter, and producer hailing from St. Croix in the Virgin Islands. From there Laurent “Tippy” Alfred runs his renown I Grade Records label, and the latest branch, Abja is destined to make an excellent impression on the (roots) reggae massive with his debut set. - More (French)
Abja est un multi-talentueux : chanteur, compositeur et producteur venant de St Croix, Virgin Islands. Avant "Inna Red I Hour" qui est sa première réalisation intégrale, il travailla activement sur ses compétences en studio et fût quelques concerts à NYC pendant plusieurs années en se formant au niveau vocal ainsi qu'en tant que producteur avec "The Survival Soundz Crew". - Encore (Spanish)
Abja es otro de los grandes ídolos musicales de la isla vecina, Santa Cruz. Su disco bajo el sello I Grade Records cuenta con la ejecución instrumental de los legendarios músicos Kenyatta, Tuff Lion y Tippy, entre otros. El estilo de este artista podemos clasificarlo como reggae rústico con altos elementos de dancehall y hip hop. Sus letras se basan en crítica social, creencia Rasta y un poco de sentimentalismo.   - Mas


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